March 6th heralds the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma on the infamous”Bloody Sunday”which featured the killing of a young black man by Alabama police.”Officer involved” shootings and killings most often involving visible minorities are a commonplace in America.The latest involve a homeless man in Los Angeles(later named a robbery suspect),a young black man in Madison Wisconsin,a woman armed with two knives and a history of angry acts including a prior stabbing,in Anaheim California. There has also been a shooting of a recent Iraqi immigrant who, having escaped the turmoil of Iraq and while enjoying his first snowfall in Dallas, fell victim to a rifle shot from four as yet unidentified men.This latter is clearly a crime but also lends to the problem of the ready access to and use of guns(bombs and swords )as “solutions”.We’ve talked about the unwritten functions of police power tied to keeping people in their place and ensuring economic profit for a dominant group.Practices of this sort are apparently widespread and only endable by the use of the ballot box. Thus the importance of voting rights as fought for by those early marchers.Those who defend the assault on voting rights tend to see the practices as isolated events with only local significance,exaggerating the violations and refusing ,forest for the trees like ,to see an unmistakable pattern.A politicized supreme court has struck down section 4 of the voting rights act allowing 26 states to initiate restrictions which reduce access to the ballot for visible minorities and students.(A large part of the Obama vote)When added to the determined efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act as the significant accomplishment of the Obama administration(now in the hands of the supreme court)the message has to be “A minority person cannot govern”.The attacks on Hilary Clinton have the same flavor and intent.”A woman cannot govern” Those who see adulterous intent on the part of a smiling president who exchanged pleasantries with the female Danish envoy to the United Nations,also see him as an insufficiently macho emperor(Jones?),exceeding constitutional authority,intellectually remote and condescending,incompetent,weak,etc.Some of these including the mayors’ mayor praise Putin as the decisive leader on the world stage.Aside from the inconsistencies which we’ve become accustomed to,there is little recognition of the need for presidential presence and power to be projected onto the world scene in the time of Isis.The republican letter to Iran undermining presidential authority is an even stupider,more malignant assault on the president much worse than the invitation to Netanyahu.There is general understanding that precipitous action is to be avoided our President is buying time. Chamberlain was not entirely wrong(Peace in our time”) but his solution was not from a position of power Obama’s is.(despite those who are mercilessly and unwisely) undermining him.
At the same time that there is confusion and deception holding sway many voices are being raised about inequity as the cause of much of the malaise in our country and the world.Billionaires like Gates,Buffet, and Blankfein are calling for the development of mechanisms not only to produce more wealth but to make the distribution of wealth more equitable. Despite the fears of a new accessor group to fringe middle class status, no one is calling for a redistribution of wealth.Tax reform, going forward, seems a likely place to begin.Nevertheless Obama is seen as A Robin Hood who will take away money, status,and guns.